SEATTLE - New barricades now surrounded the fenced off Pier 58 on Seattle’s waterfront.
On Sunday around 4 p.m., about a fifth of the pier collapsed. It happened as contract workers were actively in the process of an emergency removal project, which was announced just two days earlier due to accelerated deterioration of the pier.
“We knew that the pier was shifting and that there was a risk of collapse, so a series of additional safety precautions was taken. The contractor doing the demolition was already aware and working in that condition,” said Marshall Foster, Director of Seattle’s Office of the Waterfront Project.
According to Foster, there were seven contractors working on the pier and two of them fell into the water during the collapse.
Shannon Dyce’s home overlooks the waterfront; he recorded video of the men being pulled to safety.
“I think they started counting and realized they were missing a couple people too,” said Dyce. “They were reaching down into the water and there were three of them trying to help him get out. This was serious, and I personally was concerned for their safety.”
The workers with Orion Marine Contractors, Inc. were taken to Harborview Medical Center with injuries.
A 42-year-old man was released from the hospital by Sunday night. A 30-year-old man left the on Monday.
Pier 58 was a public park built in 1974 with a waterfront fountain sculpted by James FitzGerald. The pier was long slated for a significant overhaul. Its replacement is already planned and funded as part of a $270 million waterfront project that spans from the stadiums all the way to Olympic Sculpture park.
Similar deterioration was seen before at Piers 62 and 63. Construction was completed at Pier 62, and it's scheduled to reopen to the public in the coming weeks.
Pier 63 is located on the other side of the Seattle Aquarium, which is currently closed to the public and undergoing structure upgrades for stabilization.
Monitoring and inspections will continue on the pier. There is no observed damage to Pier 59 (Seattle Aquarium) or Pier 57 (Miner’s Landing), and no damage seen on the adjacent seawall.
Questions still remain about why Pier 58 deteriorated so quickly; Foster said they were surprised by its speed.
On Saturday, workers removed about 20,000 pounds of structure from the pier to delay a collapse, and on Sunday workers were in the process of removing a similar amount or more when the pier gave in.
Demolition of Pier 58 will continue as soon as it is safe to do so. An update on how the pier removal will continue will be available later this week.